This latest edition of one of the world’s most translated books replaces commonly used words from the King James Version of the Bible with Unicode-approved emojis. It also goes one step further by translating this ancient scripture into today’s web lingo. That means subbing in words like “and” for “&,” “why” for “y,” and “people” for “ppl.”
The Bible Emoji’s creator estimates that approximately 15 percent of the total character count of the KJV was replaced with modern slang. The result is a book that looks like a series of (very holy) texts.
The person behind Bible Emoji used the translation engine Lingo Jam to create a program that would automatically translate all 66 books of the Bible. The translator, who was raised in the Christian faith, asked not to be identified because the project has generated some abusive comments online from both atheists and very conservative Christians.
To create the program, the translator chose about 80 emojis from Unicode, linking each with words that are often repeated in the Bible. Some emojis were linked with multiple words — like 🌎, which took the place of both “earth” and “world,” or 😇, which replaced words like “God” and “Lord God.”
After getting through the book of Genesis, the translator posted Bible Emoji text online to see what readers thought.
“It was like a public proofread,” the translator told The Huffington Post. “I’d tweet out the rough draft, get feedback from the Twitter community, then revise my program.”
The translator said it took about six months to finish the project.
Despite the backlash, the translator said the Twitter community has also given the Bible Emoji positive reviews. The translator hopes this new version the Bible will encourage people from different backgrounds to engage with the ancient text.
“I hope that they view it as fun. I hope that it has people on both sides go and maybe look for themselves and what’s in the Bible and what it says,” the translator told The Huffington Post. “The book has a lot of human history in it, a lot of really good things and also negative things. I hope it helps everyone on both sides of the argument to see it for what it is.”
The Bible Emoji is set to be released on iBooks this Sunday. It’s selling for $2.99.